In pre-war Italy, a young couple have a baby boy. The father, however, is jealous of his son - and the scene moves to antiquity, where the baby is taken into the desert to be killed. He is ... See full summary »
Mamma Roma is a middle-aged whore of Roma. Now she can quit her job to become a fruit seller. And she can take back her 16-year-old son, Ettore. For him, she dreams of a good position. But ... See full summary »
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Paul Javal is a writer who is hired to make a script for a new movie about Ulysses more commercial, which is to be directed by Fritz Lang and produced by Jeremy Prokosch. But because he let... See full summary »
To win the kingdom his uncle took from his father, Jason must steal the golden fleece from the land of barbarians, where Medea is royalty and a powerful sorceress, where human sacrifice ... See full summary »
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Umberto Ferrari, aged government-pensioner, attends a street demonstration held by his fellow pensioners. The police dispense the crowd and Umberto returns to his cheap furnished room which... See full summary »
Vittorio De Sica
Maria Pia Casilio,
Cold, rain, and fog surround a plant in Ravenna. Factory waste pollutes local lakes; hulking anonymous ships pass or dock and raise quarantine flags. Guiliana, a housewife married to the ... See full summary »
Petra von Kant is a successful fashion designer -- arrogant, caustic, and self-satisfied. She mistreats Marlene (her secretary, maid, and co-designer). Enter Karin, a 23-year-old beauty who... See full summary »
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Pasolini's first film is a painfully realistic study of a pimp in Rome. Vittorio Accattone has never worked a day in his life, and has apparently made a good living prostituting his female companion, Maddalena. But her arrest begins his decline; hungry, he begs from churches and even visits his estranged wife and son. When Stella, a lovely and unbelievably innocent peasant worker, enters his life, Accattone tries to find a way, honest or not, to bring back good fortune... Written by
Gary Dickerson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Incredibly bleak tale, told without sentiment or moral preaching
The term 'accattone' is an old Italian phrase intended to brand a character with an aura of absolute repulsiveness. Thieves and low-lives would usually coin the term when referring to a character that is so despicable, so without moral or social decency, that even the criminals would look down upon them. In Pier Paolo Pasolini's incredibly assured debut, 'Accattone' is Vittorio (Franco Citti), a low-life pimp who when he is not sitting around squeezing money out of people with wagers and tricks, is abusing his lone prostitute who cannot work after breaking her leg in a motorcycle accident. It's a tale of a despicable scumbag, set during a dark period in Rome, where men viewed working as slave labour, and enjoyed themselves by beating prostitutes to within an inch of their life.
It's an incredibly bleak tale, told without sentiment and moral preaching. Pasolini's doesn't seem to want to dictate a larger social message, or make Accattone a sympathetic character who is the victim of political or social oppression, but to simply tell a tale, a real tale, of a group of low-lives who are the way they are because they want to be. After all, the true soul of neo-realism is to portray life the way actual people experience it, not to romanticise or sentimentalise it with the kind of scripts Hollywood are responsible for. Of course, many neo-realist directors would almost betray the genres roots the kind of way only auteurs can manage, and Pasolini would go on to make more surrealistic and interpretive movies, but this is true neo-realism without any kind of magical reward for the audience, or a moment of redemptive enlightenment for its protagonist. It's a story of grit, one that is thrilling and fascinating in equal measures, and with the stamp of a great director.
The film I felt it more akin to is Luis Bunuel's Los Olvidados (1950), a film of equal disregard for cinematic wonder, and one that is also punctured by an impressive dream sequence. Whilst Bunuel's sequence came around the middle section, and was a burst of absolute surrealistic beauty amongst social depravity, Accattone's comes during its climax; a strange, moody set-piece in which Accattone witnesses his own funeral, amongst other things. At first I felt like it was almost betraying what came before, but then I realised it was Pasolini's way to try and get into its characters head, and the outcome is as confusing and as futile as Accattone himself. Though I haven't seen much of Pasolini's work, this is the best I've seen, beating even the distressing brilliance of his final film Salo (1975). Though he would move away from neo-realism, Pasolini achieves more with his debut than some of the greats of the genre would manage to achieve.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?